LANCASTER (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that officials in a Los Angeles County city can open city meetings with a prayer.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer ruled Monday in favor of Lancaster officials who approved a policy allowing the prayers in August 2009.

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The city also put the question to voters, who passed the policy to allow prayers of any denomination or faith at city meetings.

Mayor R. Rex Parris said Tuesday that the city takes pride in defending the rights of citizens to pray.

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The suit was brought by Shelley Rubin, the widow of late Jewish Defense League head Irv Rubin, and Maureen Feller, a Christian resident who claimed the invocations violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

Their attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he’ll file an appeal.

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